Seen as one of the main reasons I started this blog was to help prevent stigma I thought it would be a good topic to address. So what exactly do we mean when we associate stigma towards mental health?
Though statistics show that over 450 million people world-wide have a mental health problem, there is still a strong social stigma attached to mental health, and people with mental health problems can experience discrimination in all aspects of their lives.
Nearly nine out of ten people with mental health problems say that stigma and discrimination have a negative effect on their lives.
We know that people with mental health problems are amongst the least likely of any group with a long-term health condition or disability to:
- find work
- be in a steady, long-term relationship
- live in decent housing
- be socially included in mainstream society.
This is believed to occur because society in general has stereotyped views about mental illness and how it affects people. Many people believe that people with mental ill health are violent and dangerous, when in fact they are more at risk of being attacked or harming themselves than harming other people.
Media doesn’t help at times often portraying those who can suffer with mental health difficulties to be dangerous, aggressive, criminal, evil, or very disabled and unable to live normal, fulfilled lives. Which is far more often than not very far from the case.
That is why campaigns such as Time to Change tackling stigma towards this subject are so important! Below they address some forms of stigma towards mental health…
There are lots of myths about mental health. Knowing a few facts can help us to challenge any negative thoughts and actions.
Here are some to think about:
- Myth: Mental health problems are very rare.
- Fact: 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in any given year.
- Myth: People with mental illness aren’t able to work.
- Fact: We probably all work with someone experiencing a mental health problem.
- Myth: Young people just go through ups and downs as part of puberty, it’s nothing.
- Fact: 1 in 10 young people will experience a mental health problem.
- Myth: People with mental health illnesses are usually violent and unpredictable.
- Fact: People with a mental illness are more likely to be a victim of violence.
- Myth: People with mental health problems don’t experience discrimination
- Fact: 9 out of 10 people with mental health problems experience stigma and discrimination.
- Myth: It’s easy for young people to talk to friends about their feelings.
- Fact: Nearly three in four young people fear the reactions of friends when they talk about their mental health problems.
Mental health stigma and discrimination has become such a talked about subject that many including the royal family are looking at addressing it and tackling it as no one should ever be made to feel ashamed or embarrassed to tell anyone that they experience mental health problems.
The more we focus on educating others on mental health and the more that sufferers feel happy to speak up and speak out the more we can change peoples attitudes and lives.